John James Audubon Lesson Plans

There are so many wonderful directions you can go with a study on John James Audubon.  Study his life, his drawings, and all about birds!  Here are a few ideas to get you started!

You can grab your free downloads to go along with the John James Audubon letter here!

Don't have the letter yet?  You can get the snail mail letter here or grab the instant digital download version here!

For All Ages

  • Add a bird feeder to your front or back yard to help you attract more birds.  Be sure to place the feeder near a window so you can observe the birds easily without scaring them away.  Happy DIY Home has an excellent article to help you choose the best bird feeder for your needs.

Learn Some Bird Calls


  • PBS American Masters: John James Audobon: Drawn from Nature
    -rent on Amazon Prime Video here
  • Audobon Society History video:

  • What does a dawn chorus of bird song "look" like?  Check out this article from Cornell Labs and watch the video to see a spectrogram of a dawn chorus of bird song:

Audobon Plates

Audobon's Birds of America Collection Digital Library - searchable collection of Audobon's plates with free downloads available


Historical Sites

Museums and Galleries

  • Visit any park or zoo near you, you're sure to encounter any feathered friends!




    Any books on birds that your child would enjoy are perfect.  Additionally, the following might be helpful:

    Olivia's Birds: Saving the Gulf by Olivia Bouler
    A sweet book written by Olivia Bouler made famous by her efforts to raise awareness of recovery efforts for birds following the Gulf oil spill.  It includes her original nature journal drawings and facts about various bird species.

    The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    Our favorite Audubon book about John James Audubon.  It centers on his discoveries as a young boy and includes lovely illustrations.

    National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Birds
    An informative little field guide for younger birders with bird facts and photographs of 150 species.


    • Create a bird themed activity table with plastic eggs, yarn to create nests, and felted birds.

    • Paint your own bird eggs with wooden eggs.

    • Make a bird feeder with a toilet paper roll, peanut butter, and bird seed with the Resourceful Mama
    • Put together a Bird Playdough Kit with the Kindergarten Connection
    • Decorate with an Audubon banner or create a matching game with our free set of 16 selected Audubon plates.



    Any of the books listed under preschool would be perfect for this age group, especially for lower elementary ages.  Additionally, you might enjoy the following:

    Audubon: Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier by Jennifer Armstrong and illustrated by Jos. A. Smith
    A beautifully illustrated story of some of Audubon's birding adventures.

    Audubon: On the Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau & Jeremie Royer
    A graphic novel that captures Audubon's wild and adventurous spirit.


    Middle School


    This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain
    A wonderful biography of Audubon complete with Audubon's drawings, adventures,and plenty of quotes.

    Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt
    Schmnidt masterfully weaves Audubon's works into the life of fourteen year old Doug Swieteck in this coming of age tale.  Disclaimer: As with many of Schmidt's works, he tackles some hard topics in this one, so use your judgement as to whether your child is ready for this or not. 


    • Make a Bird Call--Check out these bird call kits at Nature-Watch
    • Try your hand at macrame by making one of the two amazing owls (1 and 2) from House Sparrow Nesting's Etsy shop.  She sells both patterns and kits.

    • Try your hand at painting or drawing using a grid like Audubon used.  Instructions are available at or on How to Paint and Draw at:

    High School

    Any of our ideas recommended for middle school plus:


    John James Audubon: The Making of an American by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes
    A magnificent Audubon biography!


    Take a birding course with Cornell Lab's Bird Academy.

    For Further Research

    Excellent Article on Audobon's Birds of America: 

    The Book So Big It Needed Its Own Furniture by Erin McCarthy

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